Sigh. You would not think that it is possible to sleep in a tiny, florescent-light-buzzing cubicle with a hard chair and a hard floor (and ugly industrial carpet), would you? You would think.
Sadly, you'd be wrong. I had two naps today, and very little of the day was spent in a mental status that could be characterized as "alert." Isn't the whole point of knowing one's circadian rhythms to be able to work productively during one's "up" times? Careful attention today to my own ebbs and flows of natural and caffeine-induced wakefulness proves that, if you were to chart out said patterns, you would only see ebbs. It's like the tide is permanently out. Perhaps it is a longer-term weather pattern. Could I blame it on El Nino?
Times of sub-par productivity in this cog's life include: immediately after eating; immediately before eating; when thirsty; when drinking; when in need of a bathroom break; five minutes after any actual slice of productivity has been accomplished; any point, anywhere in the world, a blog feed has been updated; when the moon exerts gravitational pull.
The worst part is that clockwatching, as opposed to in an office job, produces absolutely no effect. Or even a negative effect. Sure, I could go home at five (ok I walked out at 4:30) but all that time spent flipping between various windows and rereading the same passages and taking bathroom breaks counts for nothing. Not only I have not, a la De Certeau's notion of la perruque,* stolen my salaried time back from my employer ---- hey, wait! I'm not even getting paid this summer! Why am I doing this? ---- but the less I finish today means the more I have to work on this project tomorrow. And that damn paper is not writing itself ---- believe me, I checked on the way back from every bathroom break.
Isn't it funny how academics practice so much self-imposed, rather than external, discipline? Especially the ones who study Marxist theory and take anti-exploitation stances on various labor topics. And yet, we're so honest. Why is it, that with so little external oversight, we have set up a system that takes to heart the worst aspects of the corporate work world: mandatory unpaid overtime, constant immersion in our work topics without regard to vacation or mental time off, academic speedups in terms of the ratcheting up of tenure requirements, the increasing difficulty and complexity of our research itself, and the increasing use of a "casualized labor force," i.e. poorly-paid adjuncts with little to no job security? If we're so smart, why didn't we set up a scam to freeload off the system? You know, like how corporate executives make millions sitting on each others boards and voting each other stock options and retirement packages, "promoting up" the occasional colleague who gets caught not doing any work. And what do we do? We deny each other tenure based on ever-rising standards we ourselves often have not met. And our solutions for improving the system involve even more work, i.e. organizing, rather than, say, a general strike. No wonder the "tenured radicals" haven't been asked to leave the building. We're excellent role models for teaching corporate underlings how to internalize the proper work ethic. (And before you come down on me I admit I'm one of the worst of the lot; my classes are like boot camp.)
I don't know where I'm going with this; really I feel as if I should be manning the barricades after that outburst, but I also just ate dinner. So I shall decide between going back to my ILL reading or taking yet another nap.
*The above linked site has the best and most concise definition of la perruque I could find (why is this concept not on De Certeau's wikipedia page?), and furthermore, I couldn't quite tell if the article was a spoof or not; please enlighten me.